The offer the Rays made to catcher Matt Wieters before he agreed to join the Nationals on Tuesday fell well short of Washington’s $21MM guaranteed proposal, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays were willing to hand Wieters $6MM in guarantees and give him a chance to exceed the $10MM mark via incentives on a one-year contract. While Tampa Bay would have been happy to reel in Wieters at that price, it’s not too broken up about losing out on his services, per Topkin. As the Rays await the return of injured free agent signing Wilson Ramos, they’ll be “very content” with Curt Casali, Luke Maile and Jesus Sucre as their top options at catcher, manager Kevin Cash said Tuesday.
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- Meanwhile, Wieters’ agreement bolstered the confidence of an NL East rival – Mets backstop Travis d’Arnaud – because it ended speculation that the former would end up in Queens, writes Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. “For them to back me up like that means a lot,” d’Arnaud said. “I definitely worked harder to prove them right, to show them that I do care about it. I want to be here, to help this team get to the World Series and win it all.” The Mets didn’t seriously pursue Wieters, according to DiComo, and manager Terry Collins explained Tuesday that there’s plenty of belief in d’Arnaud within the organization. “If you’re a player and your front office and your manager support you and believe in you, you’d better have a good feeling about yourself,” Collins stated. “When you talk to Travis, you say, ’Hey look, when you first came here, everybody talked about potential, potential. We’ve seen it in action, so we know it’s in there. We’ve just got to get it back out.'” The 28-year-old d’Arnaud is a former high-end prospect who was terrific as recently as 2015, though he has an extensive injury history and is coming off a highly disappointing season.
- In the weeks between the opening of free agency in November and Andres Blanco’s December re-signing with the Phillies, the utility infielder refused to entertain other teams’ advances, he told Matt Gelb of Philly.com. “Just wait. They will call,” Blanco advised his agent, referring to the Phillies. They finally did – with a $3MM offer – in part because Blanco’s a respected figure in the team’s clubhouse and a favorite of manager Pete Mackanin, per Gelb. It helps that the 32-year-old has also been quite productive in Philadelphia, having slashed .274/.337/.457 in 523 plate appearances since 2014.
- Orioles closer Zach Britton won’t pitch in Wednesday’s intrasquad game because he’s showing symptoms of an oblique injury, manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Showalter downplayed the severity of the ailment, saying the O’s are only holding out the star left-hander for precautionary reasons. While oblique injuries often lead to disabled list stints during the year, Showalter indicated that Britton would be able to pitch through this if it popped up in the regular season.